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Are you thinking about fixing up your house? If so, one of your first questions may be if you need to ask for permission from the council or not. Keep on reading, because at Terra Homes we are going to explain how you can make home improvements without requiring planning permission.

What types of home improvements can be made without planning permission?

In reality, if actual work needs to be carried out, you will always need to get permission. This is regardless of if it is major or minor work that needs to be done. So, can you make any home renovations without having permission?

Yes, there are some renovations that do not require permission. The key is that the renovation does not modify or put at risk the structure of the home, nor does it alter the construction in any way, beyond its aesthetics. So, the renovations (not work) that can be done without planning permission are:

· Smoothing over walls. For example, replacing popcorn walls for perlite.

· Sanding floorboards.

· Painting the walls, ceilings, or floors.

· Changing the floors or tiling.

· Replacing the electrical system.

· Making changes to the water supply system.

· Adding trims to walls or ceilings.

· Any renovations which do not alter the structure of the home, such as putting up plasterboard.

What happens if work is done without permission?

It is important to not carry out any work without the due permission, as this can result in a penalty fine of 600 to 6,000 euros, depending on the respective council regulations. But that is not all, because carrying out work without the corresponding permission means that you are at risk of having to demolish it if you are unable to legalise the work.

Even if the work is legalised at a later date, you will still need to pay the penalty and assume the fees involved in obtaining the permission for the work.

How can you apply for planning permission?

If you have decided that work needs to be done and that you need permission, you need to apply for this from the council in the town in which the property is located.

To do this you will have to inform of the type of work that you want to do and submit an architect or technical report on the project. Not every project requires these professional services, but if applicable, this documentation needs to be submitted.

On the other hand, you can also check on the council’s website for a specific section to complete this process. In this case, you can apply for planning permission online, having to complete the corresponding form and upload the same documents that are required when applying for the permission in person.

In order to not have any issue when applying for planning permission, it is important that you ask for the documents that you have to submit some time beforehand.

How much does planning permission cost?

The cost of planning permission will depend on the council you have sent the application to, meaning we cannot provide an exact answer to this question. What we can say is that you will have to pay construction, facilities, and works tax (ICIO, in Spanish), for the private use of a local public domain, and for the rendering of urban planning services.

In general, home renovations of a certain type (meaning significant work) can cost between just under 500 euros to just over 1,000 euros. However, we must stress that this will vary from case to case.

It is also important to know that, depending on the type of work to be carried out, there may be no fee at all, despite still having to apply for planning permission from the council. For example, this may be the case if no skips or scaffolding are required. But remember, you still need to apply for permission. The council will tell you if you have to pay or not. Finally, at Terra Homes, we want to emphasise the importance of applying for the corresponding planning permission before undertaking any work. If not, as is often the case, the cheaper option may eventually be more expensive, as you may save on the planning permission costs but may also have to shell out on a costly penalty fine.